S274. The Personal (Essay) Is Political: Nonfiction as an Agent of Social Change

Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Saturday, February 11, 2017
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Online nonfiction venues such as Salon, Slate, and The Atlantic, among others, invite writers to respond to world events through the lens of personal experience while also allowing works to be shared virally via social media. The best of these spur public conversations about issues as pressing as police brutality, rape culture, LGBTQ rights, and more. This panel explores the various roles of the personal essay in contemporary culture, and discuss how words effect change on the world.



Katie Cortese is the author of the flash fiction collection Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Day One, and elsewhere. She teaches in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University, and she is the fiction editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.

Jaquira Diaz is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Kenyon Review, and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work appears in the Kenyon Review, the Sun, the Guardian, and The Best American Essays 2016.

Eric Sasson writes Ctrl-Alt, a column about LGBT culture for the Wall Street Journal. He's the author of the story collection Margins of Tolerance and the novel Admissions. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications.

Gabrielle Bellot is a staff writer at Literary Hub. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Atlantic, Guernica, Slate, Tin House, the Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, the blogs of Prairie Schooner and the Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She is a doctoral candidate in fiction at FSU.

Matthew Salesses's books include The Hundred-Year Flood; I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying; The Murder of the Doppelgänger (forthcoming); and Own Story: Essays (forthcoming). He has written for The New York Times, NPR, Salon, the Millions, and others. He's a PhD candidate at the University of Houston.


March 23–26, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Convention Center